Traumatic Memories Quotes

Quotes tagged as "traumatic-memories" Showing 1-11 of 11
Sandra Lee Dennis
“Blame is a Defense Against Powerlessness

Betrayal trauma changes you. You have endured a life-altering shock, and are likely living with PTSD symptoms— hypervigilance, flashbacks and bewilderment—with broken trust, with the inability to cope with many situations, and with the complete shut down of parts of your mind, including your ability to focus and regulate your emotions.

Nevertheless, if you are unable to recognize the higher purpose in your pain, to forgive and forget and move on, you clearly have chosen to be addicted to your pain and must enjoy playing the victim.

And the worst is, we are only too ready to agree with this assessment! Trauma victims commonly blame themselves. Blaming oneself for the shame of being a victim is recognized by trauma specialists as a defense against the extreme powerlessness we feel in the wake of a traumatic event. Self-blame continues the illusion of control shock destroys, but prevents us from the necessary working through of the traumatic feelings and memories to heal and recover.”
Sandra Lee Dennis

Sarah E. Olson
“Being in a state of denial is a
universally human response to
situations which threaten to
overwhelm. People who were abused
as children sometimes carry their
denial like precious cargo without a
port of destination. It enabled us to
survive our childhood experiences, and often we still live in survival mode decades beyond the actual abuse. We protect ourselves to excess because we learned abruptly and painfully that no one else would.”
Sarah E. Olson, Becoming One: A Story of Triumph Over Dissociative Identity Disorder

“Carla's description was typical of survivors of chronic childhood abuse. Almost always, they deny or minimize the abusive memories. They have to: it's too painful to believe that their parents would do such a thing. So they fragment the memories into hundreds of shards, leaving only acceptable traces in their conscious minds. Rationalizations like "my childhood was rough," "he only did it to me once or twice," and "it wasn't so bad" are common, masking the fact that the abuse was devastating and chronic. But while the knowledge, body sensations, and feelings are shattered, they are not forgotten. They intrude in unexpected ways: through panic attacks and insomnia, through dreams and artwork, through seemingly inexplicable compulsions, and through the shadowy dread of the abusive parent. They live just outside of consciousness like noisy neighbors who bang on the pipes and occasionally show up at the door.”
David L. Calof, The Couple Who Became Each Other: Stories of Healing and Transformation from a Leading Hypnotherapist

“She's terrified that all these sensations and images are coming out of her — but I think she's even more terrified to find out why." Carla's description was typical of survivors of chronic childhood abuse. Almost always, they deny or minimize the abusive memories. They have to: it's too painful to believe that their parents would do such a thing.”
David L. Calof

“To think of them and memories with - on days with mood dimmed by some traumatic spell of a haunting quite residual - is to have the brain become a cell and trapped inside there is only the music of the surly sullen bell.”
The Raveness, Night Tide Musings


The reexperiencing of previously dissociated traumatic events presents in a variety of complex ways. The central principle is that dissociated experiences often do not remain dormant. Freud's concept of the “repetition compulsion” is enormously helpful in understanding how dissociated events are later reexperienced. In his paper, "Beyond the Pleasure Principle," Freud (1920/ 1955) described how repressed (and dissociated) trauma and instinctual conflicts can become superimposed on current reality. He wrote:

The patient cannot remember the whole of what is repressed in him, and what he cannot remember may be precisely the essential part of it. .. . He is obliged to repeat the repressed material as a contemporary experience instead of remembering it as something in the past. (p. 18)

If one understands repression as the process in which overwhelming experiences are forgotten, distanced, and dissociated, Freud posited that these experiences are likely to recur in the mind and to be reexperienced. He theorized that this "compulsion to repeat" served a need to rework and achieve mastery over the experience and that it perhaps had an underlying biologic basis as well. The most perceptive tenet of Freud’s theory is that previously dissociated events are actually reexperienced as current reality rather than remembered as occurring in the past. Although Freud was discussing the trauma produced by intense intrapsychic conflict, clinical experience has shown that actual traumatic events that have been dissociated are often repeated and reexperienced.”
James A. Chu, Rebuilding Shattered Lives: Treating Complex PTSD and Dissociative Disorders

“For many years there have been rumours of mind control experiments. in the United States. In the early 1970s, the first of the declassified information was obtained by author John Marks for his pioneering work, The Search For the Manchurian Candidate. Over time retired or disillusioned CIA agents and contract employees have broken the oath of secrecy to reveal small portions of their clandestine work. In addition, some research work subcontracted to university researchers has been found to have been underwritten and directed by the CIA. There were 'terminal experiments' in Canada's McGill University and less dramatic but equally wayward programmes at the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Rochester, the University of Michigan and numerous other institutions. Many times the money went through foundations that were fronts or the CIA. In most instances, only the lead researcher was aware who his or her real benefactor was, though the individual was not always told the ultimate use for the information being gleaned. In 1991, when the United States finally signed the 1964 Helsinki Accords that forbids such practices, any of the programmes overseen by the intelligence community involving children were to come to an end. However, a source recently conveyed to us that such programmes continue today under the auspices of the CIA's Office of Research and Development. The children in the original experiments are now adults. Some have been able to go to college or technical schools, get jobs. get married, start families and become part of mainstream America. Some have never healed. The original men and women who devised the early experimental programmes are, at this point, usually retired or deceased. The laboratory assistants, often graduate and postdoctoral students, have gone on to other programmes, other research. Undoubtedly many of them never knew the breadth of the work of which they had been part. They also probably did not know of the controlled violence utilised in some tests and preparations. Many of the 'handlers' assigned to reinforce the separation of ego states have gone into other pursuits. But some have remained or have keen replaced. Some of the 'lab rats' whom they kept in in a climate of readiness, responding to the psychological triggers that would assure their continued involvement in whatever project the leaders desired, no longer have this constant reinforcement. Some of the minds have gradually stopped suppression of their past experiences. So it is with Cheryl, and now her sister Lynn.”
Cheryl Hersha, Secret Weapons: How Two Sisters Were Brainwashed To Kill For Their Country

Sonali Deraniyagala
“I must stop remembering... The more I remember, the greater my agony. These thoughts stuttered in my mind...

I must be more watchful, I told myself. I must shut them out.

I couldn't always keep this up.”
Sonali Deraniyagala, Wave

Stephen King
“He felt more crypts cracking open inside of him; the stench he smelled was not decayed bodies but decayed memories, and that was somehow worse.”
Stephen King, It

David Yeung
“It is dangerous to use our own ability to access non-traumatic memories as a standard against which we judge a trauma victim’s response.”
David Yeung

“Treating Abuse Today (Tat), 3(4), pp. 26-33
Freyd: I see what you're saying but people in psychology don't have a uniform agreement on this issue of the depth of -- I guess the term that was used at the conference was -- "robust repression."

TAT: Well, Pamela, there's a whole lot of evidence that people dissociate traumatic things. What's interesting to me is how the concept of "dissociation" is side-stepped in favor of "repression." I don't think it's as much about repression as it is about traumatic amnesia and dissociation. That has been documented in a variety of trauma survivors. Army psychiatrists in the Second World War, for instance, documented that following battles, many soldiers had amnesia for the battles. Often, the memories wouldn't break through until much later when they were in psychotherapy.

Freyd: But I think I mentioned Dr. Loren Pankratz. He is a psychologist who was studying veterans for post-traumatic stress in a Veterans Administration Hospital in Portland. They found some people who were admitted to Veteran's hospitals for postrraumatic stress in Vietnam who didn't serve in Vietnam. They found at least one patient who was being treated who wasn't even a veteran. Without external validation, we just can't know --

TAT: -- Well, we have external validation in some of our cases.

Freyd: In this field you're going to find people who have all levels of belief, understanding, experience with the area of repression. As I said before it's not an area in which there's any kind of uniform agreement in the field. The full notion of repression has a meaning within a psychoanalytic framework and it's got a meaning to people in everyday use and everyday language. What there is evidence for is that any kind of memory is reconstructed and reinterpreted. It has not been shown to be anything else. Memories are reconstructed and reinterpreted from fragments. Some memories are true and some memories are confabulated and some are downright false.

TAT: It is certainly possible for in offender to dissociate a memory. It's possible that some of the people who call you could have done or witnessed some of the things they've been accused of -- maybe in an alcoholic black-out or in a dissociative state -- and truly not remember. I think that's very possible.

Freyd: I would say that virtually anything is possible. But when the stories include murdering babies and breeding babies and some of the rather bizarre things that come up, it's mighty puzzling.

TAT: I've treated adults with dissociative disorders who were both victimized and victimizers. I've seen previously repressed memories of my clients' earlier sexual offenses coming back to them in therapy. You guys seem to be saying, be skeptical if the person claims to have forgotten previously, especially if it is about something horrible. Should we be equally skeptical if someone says "I'm remembering that I perpetrated and I didn't remember before. It's been repressed for years and now it's surfacing because of therapy." I ask you, should we have the same degree of skepticism for this type of delayed-memory that you have for the other kind?

Freyd: Does that happen?

TAT: Oh, yes. A lot.”
David L. Calof